If you are looking for a home at a bargain price and you don't mind putting some work into it, you might consider the enormous savings possible by buying through a land bank. Land banks are entities run by local governments or nonprofit organizations. The houses they acquire are in tax default, foreclosed, or otherwise abandoned. Sure, you can buy a foreclosed home at a bargain by going through normal real estate companies, but land banks can be much less expensive, and when you purchase a home through one, you can be a part of making the world, or at least your town, a better place.
Land banks take over properties that commercial developers don't see as profitable. Land banks are looking to fill those fixer-uppers with people who will take pride in them, which builds value not only for that home, but the surrounding neighborhood. That will not only improve the town, but raise tax revenue. Therefore, you are almost always assured of dealing with a transaction that isn't all about squeezing the buyer.
However, land banks will attach strings to any purchase, which vary from state to state, and even from land bank to land bank. You may be required to live there, to get the house up to code within a certain time limit, or to retain ownership for a certain number of years. The trick is knowing what you're getting into, but if you are willing to put the work in, you can own your first home without a 30-year mortgage. Lifehacker has a guide to getting started if you want to purchase a land bank home.
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